I recently acquired an old PC from a friend. 100 MHz Pentium w/ 46 megs RAM, 4 GB HD, and a 3Com 3c5098 NIC.
I'm trying to put Debian on the machine, which goes fine when I boot off the floppies. I install the kernel/drivers from the Rescue/Driver floppies just fine, and at the step where it has you configure the kernel drivers, I select "3c509" from the list of drivers.
The system claims the card installed just fine. I've tried with various other cards like a Linksys LNEPCI II, which doesn't work in Linux (some claim it does but I've never had any luck), that failed, so I know the 3c509 is recognizing properly.
Once I try DHCP to get an IP from my router, it says it failed.
I checked the cables and plugged them into other computers on the network and they work properly. After the card tries to get an IP, I can do an lsmod and it shows the 3c509 is being used by 1 and a look at /proc/interrupts shows the eth0 at IRQ 5. I'm assuming at this point the system recognizes the card, but there's no reason why it shouldn't be getting an IP. Also, when doing 'ifconfig -a', eth0 appears, but obviously with no IP address. I also tried hardcoding the IP, but still.. no success.
The last time I fiddled with ISA was back in '99 and being 5 years later, I'm assuming Linux has come quite a ways in regards to hardware support. Do I need to fiddle with ISAPNP or do ISA cards work automatically now like PCI? I was unsure, but did a 'pnpdump' command, and after it looped through all the addresses, it claims that it didn't find a single card. So much for that. I never could get ISA cards to work in Linux.
I was thinking about going out and purchasing a commonly used NIC that is known to work well in Linux, but being that this computer is older I'm worried that the card won't "just work" when I put it in and select the proper driver.
After fiddling with it for a while, I just decided to go out and buy a card that just works (D-Link DFE-530TX+ for $14). Still kinda sucks though because I don't know how/why the ISA card didn't work. Buying a new one doesn't give me the knowledge of how to get an ISA card to work properly